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    The best and worst countries for new working parents revealed (clue – the UK isn’t the best)

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    Estonia, Croatia, and Bulgaria all offer more maternity leave than the UK, though our statutory offer sits high on the list when comparing worldwide.

    According to research from Red Letter Days, the UK is 4th on the list for the country that offers the most maternity leave in weeks for new mums.

    Women in the UK are currently entitled to 52 weeks of statutory leave, whereas Estonia offers 62 weeks and Croatia and Bulgaria both offer 58.

    The US remains at the bottom of the list for maternity leave benefits, with zero weeks of guaranteed leave for new working mums. 

    90 countries don’t offer paternity leave time at all – including the US

    Out of the 169 countries researched, the UK ranks 13th on the list of best countries for paternity leave offering working dads two working weeks (10 days) with their new-born child. As soon as the two weeks are over, dads are sent straight back to work.

    This is considerably less than mums who receive 52 weeks maternity leave in the UK however there is a bigger issue worldwide. The study reveals that 90 countries don’t offer paternity leave time at all including Canada, China, Germany and the US. Many countries, however, do offer parental leave which can be shared between mum and dad, but research reveals that just 1% of dads take this up. 

    South Korea offers the most, at 52 weeks, and 8 out of the 12 countries that beat the UK on paternity leave schemes are within Europe.

    Sweden offers the best paternity leave in Europe at 12 weeks and is known for its generous parental scheme too.

    Just 26 countries legally accept LGBT parenting through full adoption – and 16 of those are in Europe

    Many countries have laws dictating whether a same-sex couple is legally entitled to adopt, or if they are banned on the basis of their sexuality. 

    The data shows that 26 out of the 169 countries do allow joint adoption for same-sex couples, leaving 143 that don’t support LGBT parenting through adoption. Of the 51 countries in Europe, 16 allow same-sex adoption. Countries that don’t include Russia, Poland and Greece. 

    The full data including a list of the 143 countries that don’t can be found here

    Alison Vickery, Marketing Director said:Many new parents consider their baby to be the greatest gift they have ever received. But not being able to spend quality time with them as they settle in their new homes can affect the bond they have with their child. We at Red Letter Days conducted research around becoming a new parent worldwide and compared each countries offering to see how they compared to the UK.”

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien